Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

History of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life online

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Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 36 of 46)
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upon you, I propose to offer you a few suggestions, knowing how hazardous
it is to bind down a distant commander in the field to specific lines of
operation, as so much always depends on the knowledge of localities and
passing events. It is intended, therefore, to leave considerable margin
for the exercise of your judgment and discretion.

The main rebel army (Price s) west of the Mississippi is believed to
have passed Dade county in full retreat upon Northwestern Arkansas,
leaving Missouri almost free from the enemy, excepting in the southeast


part of the State. Assuming this basis of fact, it seems desirable as
you are not likely to overtake Price, and are in danger of making too
long a line from your own base of supplies and re-enforcements that
you should give up the pursuit, halt your main army, divide it into two
corps of observation, one occupying Sedalia anc the other Eolla, the
present termini of railroads, then recruit the condition of both corps
by re-establishing and improving their discipline and instruction, per
fecting their clothing and equipments, and providing less uncomfortable
quarters. Of course, both railroads must be guarded and kept open,
judiciously employing just so much force as is necessary for this. From
these two points, Sedalia and Holla, and especially in judicious co
operation with Lane on the Kansas border, it would be very easy to
concentrate, and repel any army of the enemy returning on Missouri
on the Southwest. As it is not probable any such attempt to return
will be made before or during the approaching cold weather, before
spring the people of Missouri will be in no favorable mood for renewing
for next year the troubles which.have so much afflicted and impoverished
them during this.

If you take this line of policy, and if, as I anticipate, you will see no
enemy in great force approaching, you will have a surplus force which
you can withdraw from those points, and direct to others, as may be
needed the railroads furnishing ready means of re-enforcing those
main points, if occasion requires.

Doubtless local uprisings for a time will continue to occur, but those
can be met by detachments of local forces of our own, and will ere long
tire out of themselves.

AVhile, as stated at the beginning of this letter, a large discretion
must be and is left with yourself, I feel sure that an indefinite pursuit
of Price, or an attempt by this long and circuitous route to reach
Memphis, will be exhaustive beyond endurance, and \\ ill end in the loss
of the whole force engaged in it. Your obedient servant,

The Commander of the Department of the West.

General Hunter s first act was to repudiate the agreement
of Gen. Fremont with General Price, and, on the 18th of
November, General Halleck arrived as his successor.

The action of General Fremont had given rise to very seri
ous complaints on the part of the people of Missouri ; and
these in turn had led to strong demonstrations on his behalf.


His removal was made the occasion for public manifestations
of sympathy for him, and of censure for the government.
An address was presented to him, signed by large numbers
of the citizens of St. Louis, those of German birth largely
predominating, in which his removal was ascribed to jealousy
of his popularity, and to the fact that his policy in regard to
emancipation was in advance of the government at Washing
ton. " You have risen," said this address, " too fast in popu
lar favor. The policy announced in your proclamation, al
though hailed as a political and military necessity, furnished
your ambitious rivals and enemies with a cruel weapon for
your intended destruction. The harbingers of truth will ever
be crucified by the Pharisees. We cannot be deceived by
shallow and flimsy pretexts, by unfounded and slanderous re
ports. We entertain no doubt of your ability to speedily
confound and silence your traducers. The day of reckoning
is not far distant, and the people will take care that the
schemes of your opponents shall, in the end be signally de
feated." The General accepted these tributes to his merits,
and these denunciations of the government, with grateful ac
knowledgments, saying that the kind and affectionate demon
strations which greeted him, cheered and strengthened his
confidence "my confidence," he said, "already somewhat
wavering, in our republican institutions."

The sharp personal discussions to which this incident gave
rise, were made still more bitter, by denunciations of General
llalleck s course in excluding, for military reasons, which have
been already noticed,* fugitive slaves from our lines, and by
the contest that soon came up in the State Convention, on the
general subject of emancipation. On the 7th of June, 1862,
a bill was introduced into the Convention by Judge Breckin-
ridge, of St. Louis, for gradual emancipation, framed in ac
cordance with the recommendation of the President s Mes-
* See page 293.


sage. By the combined votes of those who were opposed to
emancipation in any form, and those who were opposed to the
President s plan of gradual emancipation, this bill was sum
marily laid on the table. But on the 13th, the subject was
again brought up by a Message from Governor Gamble, calling
attention to the fact, that Congress had passed a resolution, in
accordance with the President s recommendation, declaring
that " the United States ought to co-operate with any State
which might adopt a gradual emancipation of slavery, giving
to such State, at its discretion, compensation for the incon
venience, public and private, caused by such a change of sys
tem." This message was referred to a special committee,
which reported resolutions, recognizing the generous spirit of
this proposal, but declining to take any action upon it. These
resolutions were adopted, and on the 16th a Mass Convention
of Emancipationists, consisting of 19.5 delegates from 25
counties, met at Jefferson City, and passed resolutions, declar
ing it to be the duty of the next General Assembly to pass
laws, giving effect to a gradual system of emancipation on
the basis proposed.

At the State election, in the following November, the ques
tion of emancipation was the leading theme of controversy.
Throughout the State the canvass turned upon this issue, and
resulted in the choice of a decided majority of the Assembly
favorable to emancipation. But the division in the ranks of
this party still continued, and gave rise to very heated and
bitter contests, especially in St. Louis. During the summer,
the main rebel army having been driven from the State, and
the Union army being of necessity in the main withdrawn to
other fields, the State was overrun by reckless bands of rebel
guerrillas, who robbed and plundered Union citizens, and cre
ated very great alarm among the people. In consequence
of these outrages, Governor Gamble ordered the organization
of the entire militia of the State, and authorized General


Scliofield to call into active service such portions of it as
might be needed to put down marauders, and defend peace
able and loyal citizens. The organization was effected with
great promptness, and the State militia became a powerful
auxiliary of the national forces, and cleared all sections of the
State of the lawless bands which had inflicted so much injury
and committed so many outrages.

On the 19th of September, the States of Missouri, Kansas,
and Arkansas, were formed into a military district, of which
the command was assigned to General Curtis, who was
thoroughly in sympathy with the friends of immediate eman
cipation and the supporters of General Fremont in his differ
ences with the government. He had control of the na
tional forces in his district, but Governor Gamble did not give
him command of the State militia.

The differences of .political sentiment between the two sec
tions of the Union men of the State came thus to be represented,
to some extent, by two organized military forces ; and the
contest between their respective partisans continued to be
waged with increasing bitterness, greatly to the embarrassment
of the government at Washington, and to the weakening of the
Union cause. This continued until the spring of 1863, when
the President removed General Curtis from his command, and
appointed General Schofield in his place. This gave rise to
very vehement remonstrances and protests, to one of which,
sent by telegraph, the President made the following reply :

Your dispatch of to-day is just received. It is very painful to me
that you, in Missouri, cannot, or will not, settle your factional quarrel
among yourselves. I have been tormented with it beyond endurance,
for months, by both sides. Neither side pays the least respect to my
appeals to your reason. I am now compelled to take hold of the case.


To General Schofield himself, the President soon after ad
dressed the following letter :


WASHINGTON, May 27, 1863. \

General J. M. SCHOFIELD :

DEAR SIR: Having removed General Curtis and assigned you to the
command of the Department of the Missouri, I think it may be of some
advantage to me to state to you why I did it. I did not remove Gen
eral Curtis because of my full conviction that he had done wrong by
commission or omission. I did it because of a conviction in my mind
that the Union men of Missouri, constituting, when united, a vast ma
jority of the people, have entered into a pestilent, factious quarrel,
among themselves, General Curtis, perhaps not of choice, being the
head of one faction, and Governor Gamble that of the other. After
months of labor to reconcile the difficulty, it seemed to grow worse and
worse, until I felt it my duty to break it up somehow, and as I could
not remove Governor Gamble, I had to remove General Curtis. Now
that you are in the position, I wish, you to undo nothing merely because
General Curtis or Governor Gamble did it, but to exercise your own
judgment, and do right for the public interest. Let your military meas
ures be strong enough to repel the invaders and keep the peace, and
not so strong as to unnecessarily harass and persecute the people. It
is a difficult role, and so much greater will be the honor if you perform
it well. If both factions, or neither, shall abuse you. you will probably
be about right. Beware of being assailed by one and praised by the
oth er. Yours truly, A. LINCOLN.

This action gave special dissatisfaction to the more radical
Unionists of the State. They had been anxious to have the
Provisional Government, of which Governor Gamble was the
Executive head, set aside by the national authority, and the
control of the State vested in a Military Governor clothed
with the authority which General Fremont had assumed to
exercise by his proclamation of August 31st, 1861 ; and the
Germans enlisted in the movement had made very urgent de
mands for the restoration of General Fremont himself. Sev
eral deputations visited Washington, for the purpose of repre
senting these views and wishes to the President, though they
by no\ieans restricted their efforts at reform to matters with
in their own State, but insisted upon sundry changes in the


Cabinet, upon the dismissal of General ITalleck from the
position of Commander of the Armies of the United States
and upon other matters of equal magnitude and importance.
The following report of President LINCOLN S reply to these
various requests, was made by a member of a Committee ap
pointed at a mass meeting, composed mainly of Germans, and
held at St. Louis on the 10th of May: although made by a
person opposed to the President s action, it probably gives a
substantially correct statement of his remarks :

GENTLEMEN: During a professional visit to Washington city, I pre
sented to the President of the United States, in compliance with your
instructions, a copy of the resolutions adopted in mass meeting at St.
Louis on the 10th of May, 18(33, and I requested a reply to the suggestions
therein contained. The President, after a careful and loud reading of the
whole report of proceedings, saw proper to enter into a conversation of
two hours duration, in the course of which most of the topics embraced
in the resolutions and other subjects were discussed.

As my share in the conversation is of secondary importance, I propose
to omit it entirely in this report, and, avoiding details, to communicate
to you the substance of noteworthy remarks made by the President.

1. The President said that it may be a misfortune for the nation Hint
he was elected President. But, having been elected by the people, he
meant to be President, and perform his duty according to his best under
standing, if he had to die for it. No General will be removed, nor will
any change in the Cabinet be made, to suit the views or wishes of any
particular party, faction or set of men. General Halleck is not guilty of
the charges made against him, most of which arise from misapprehension
or ignorance of those who prefer them.

2. The President said tha-t it was a mistake to suppose that Generals
John C. Fremont, B. F. Butler, and F. Sigel are " systematically kept out
of command," as stated in the fourth resolution ; that, on the contrary,
ho fully appreciated the merits of the gentlemen named ; that by their
own actions they had placed themselves in the positions which they
occupied ; that he was not only willing, but anxious to place them again
in command as soon as he could find spheres of action for them, with
out doing injustice to others, but that at present he " had more pegs
than holes to put them in."

3. As to the want of unity, the President, without admitting such to
be the case, intimated that each member of the Cabinet was responsible


mainly for the manner of conducting the affairs of his particular depart
ment ; that there was no centralization of responsibility for the action
of the Cabinet anywhere, except in the President himself.

4. The dissensions between Union men in Missouri are due solely to a
factious spirit which is exceedingly reprehensible. The two parties
" ought to have their heads knocked together." " Either would rather
see the defeat of their adversary than that of Jefferson Davis." To this
spirit of faction is to be ascribed the failure of the Legislature to elect
senators and the defeat of the Missouri Aid Bill in Congress, the passage
of which the President strongly desired.

The President said that the Union men in Missouri who are in favor
of gradual emancipation represented his views better than those who are
in favor of immediate emancipation. In explanation of his views on this
subject, the President said that in his speeches he had frequently used as
an illustration, the case of a man who had an excrescence on the back
of his neck, the removal of which, in one operation, would result in the
death of the patient, while "tinkering it oif by degrees" would preserve
life. Although sorely tempted, I did not reply with the illustration of
the dog whose tail was amputated by inches, but confined myself to
arguments. The President announced clearly that, as far as he was at present
advised, the Radicals in Missouri had no right to consider themselves the ex
ponents of his views on the subject of emancipation in that State.

5. General Curtis was not relieved on account of any wrong act or
great mistake committed by him. The System of Provost-Marshals,
established by him throughout the State, gave rise to violent complaint.
That the President had thought at one time to appoint General Fremont
in his place ; that at another time he had thought of appointing General
McDowell, whom he characterised as a good and loyal though very un
fortunate soldier ; and that, at last, General Schofield was appointed, with
a view, if possible, to reconcile and satisfy the two factions in Missouri.
He has instructions not to interfere with either party, but to confine
himself to his military duties. I assure you, gentlemen, that our side
was as fully presented as the occasion permitted. At the close of the
conversation, the President remarked that there was evidently a " serious
misunderstanding" springing up between him and the Germans of St.
Louis, which he would like to see removed. Observing to him that the
difference of opinion related to facts, men, and measures, I withdrew.

I am, very respectfully, etc.


On the 1st of July the State Convention, in session at
Jefferson City, passed an amendment to the Constitution de
claring that slavery should cease to exist in Missouri on the


4th of July, 1870, with certain specified exceptions. This,
however, was by no means accepted as a final disposition of
the matter. The demand was made for immediate emancipa
tion, and Gov. Gamble and the members of the Provisional
Government who had favored the policy adopted by the
State Convention, were denounced as the advocates of slavery
and allies of the rebellion. In the early part of August a
band of rebel guerrillas made a raid into the town of Law
rence, Kansas, and butchered in cold blood over two hundred
unarmed citizens of the place. This brutal act aroused the
most intense excitement in the adjoining State of Missouri,
of which the opponents of the Provisional Government took
advantage to throw upon it and General Schofield, who had com
mand of the State militia as well as of the national forces, the
responsibility in having permitted this massacre to take place.
A Mass Convention was held at Jefferson City on the 2d
of September, at which resolutions were adopted denouncing
the military policy pursued in the State and the delegation
of military powers to the provisional goveinment. A Com
mittee of one from each county was appointed to visit Wash
ington and lay their grievances before the President ; and
arrangements were also made for the appointment of a Com
mittee of Public Safety, to organize and arm the loyal men of
the State, and, in the event of not obtaining relief, to call on
the people in their sovereign capacity to " take such measures
of redress as the emergency might require." In the latter part
of September the Committee appointed by this Convention
visited Washington and had an interview with the President
on the 30th, in which they represented Governor Gamble and
General Schofield as in virtual alliance with the rebels, and
demanded the removal of the latter as an act of justice to the
loyal and anti-slavery men of the State. The Committee
visited several of the northern cities, and held public meetings
for the purpose of enlisting public sentiment in their support.


At these meetings it was claimed that the radical emanci
pation party was the only one which represented the loyalty
of Missouri, and President LINCOLN was very strongly cen
sured for " closing his ears to just, loyal, and patriotic de
mands of the radical party, while he indorsed the disloyal and
oppressive demands of Governor Gamble, General Schofield,
and their adherents."

On the 5th of October President LINCOLN made to the repre
sentations and requests of the Committee the following reply :

Hon. CHARLES DRAKE and others, Committee:

GENTLEMEN: Your original address, presented on the 30th ult.,- and
the four supplementary ones presented on the 3d inst., have been care
fully considered. I hope you will regard the other duties claiming my
attention, together with the great length and importance of these docu
ments, as constituting a sufficient apology for my not having responded

These papers, framed for a common object, consist of the things de
manded, and the reasons fo r demanding them.

The things demanded are :

Pint That General Schofield shall be relieved, and General Butler be
appointed as Commander of the Military Department of Missouri ;

Second That the system of enrolled militia in Missouri may be broken
up, and National forces be substituted for it ; and

Third That at elections, persons may not be allowed to vote who are
not entitled by law to do so.

Among the reasons given, enough of Buffering and wrong to Union
men, is certainly, and I suppose truly, stated. Yet the whole case, as
presented, fails to convince me that General Schofield, or the enrolled
militia, is responsible for that suffering and wrong. The whole can be
explained on a more charitable, and, as I think, a more rational hypo

We are in civil war. In such cases there always is a main question ;
but in this case that question is a perplexing compound Union and
Slavery. It thus becomes a question not of two sides merely, but of at
least four sides, even among those who are for the Union, saying nothing
of those who are against it. Thus, those who are for the Union with, but
not without Slavery those for it without but not with those for it with or
without, but prefer it with, and those for it with or without, but prefer it
wit f unit.


Among these, again, is a subdivision of those who are for gradual, but
not for immediate, and those who are for immediate, but not for gradual
extinction of slavery.

It is easy to conceive that all these shades of opinion and even more,
may be sincerely entertained by honest and truthful men. Yet, all being
for the Union, by reason of these differences, each will prefer a different
way of sustaining the Union. At once, sincerity is questioned, and mo
tives are assailed. Actual war coming, blood grows hot, and blood is
spilled. Thought is forced from old channels into confusion. Decep
tion breeds and thrives. Confidence dies, and universal suspicion reigns.
Each man feels an impulse to kill his neighbor, lest he be killed by him.
Revenge and retaliation follow. And all this, as before said, may be
among honest men only. But this is not all. Every foul bird comes
abroad, and every dirty reptile rises up. These add crime to confusion.
Strong measures deemed indispensable but harsh at best, such men make
worse by maladministration. Murders for old grudges, and murders for
pelf proceed under any cloak that will best serve for the occasion.

These causes amply account for what has occurred in Missouri, with
out ascribing it to the weakness or wickedness of any general. The
neAvspaper files, those chroniclers of current events, will show that the
evils now complained of, were quite as prevalent under Fremont, Hun
ter, Halleck, and Curtis, as under Schofield. If the former had greater
force opposed to them, they also had greater force with which to meet
it. When the organized rebel army left the State, the main Federal force
had to go also, leaving the Department Commander at home, relatively
no stronger than before. Without disparaging any, I affirm with confi
dence, that no Commander of that Department has, in proportion to his
means, done better than General Schofield.

The first specific charge against General Schofield is, that the enrolled
militia was placed under his command, whereas it had not been placed
under the command of General Curtis. The fact is, I believe, true ; but
you do not point out, nor can I conceive how that did, or could, injure
loyal men or the Union cause.

You charge that General Curtis being superseded by General Schofield,
Franklin A. Dick was superseded by James O. Broadhead as Provost-
Marshal General. No very specific showing is made as to how this did
or could injure the Union cause. It recalls, however, the condition of
things, as presented to me, which led to a change of commander of that

To restrain contraband intelligence and trade, a system of searches,
seizures, permits and passes, had been introduced, I think, by General
Fremont. When General Halleck came, he found and continued the sys
tem, and added an order, applicable to some parts of the State, to levy
and collect contributions from noted rebels, to compensate losses, and


relieve destitution caused by the rebellion. The action of General Fre
mont and General Halleck, as stated, constituted a sort of system which
General Curtis found in full operation when he took command of the de
partment. That there was a necessity for something of the sort was
clear ; but that it could only be justified by stern necessity, and that it

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 36 of 46)